Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In May

Chores and Maintenance:

  • Finish preparation of planting beds
  • Continue to cultivate planting beds and carefully remove young weeds
  • Dig and divide early-blooming perennials after flowering
  • Lift, divide and replant late summer and fall-blooming perennials
  • Set supports for floppy plants, vines and vegetables
  • Mow lawns regularly to keep grass at 2½ inch height
  • Begin watering program as necessary
  • Continue weeding
  • Aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition
  • Mulch azaleas, rhododendrons, and other ericaceous ornamentals with acid mulch
  • Mulch planting beds
  • Deadhead bulbs but allow foliage to remain until yellow to nourish bulbs for next year’s display
  • As night temperatures moderate into the 60’s, move houseplants outdoors (avoid full sun and windy locations)
  • Look for pests and other problems; spotting early can mean fewer chemical controls. Note: slugs and caterpillars can be removed manually
  • Begin application of deer repellents


  • Move self-sown annuals and perennials to desired locations
  • Sow seeds of corn, cucumber and melon directly in the garden
  • Harden off tomato, eggplant and pepper transplants before planting out at end of month
  • Complete planting deciduous trees and shrubs, weather and soil conditions permitting
  • Continue to plant and transplant perennials
  • Plant summer annuals after last frost date
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as gladiolas and dahlias after last frost date
  • Plant caladium and tuberous begonias in shady spots
  • Complete reseeding bare lawn areas


  • Pinch back late summer and fall-blooming perennials
  • Continue to prune all plant material to remove any diseased, dead, weak or crossing branches
  • Prune early spring-flowering shrubs after blooming
  • Wait to prune evergreens, hedges and other shrubs until late spring into early summer
  • Begin deadheading roses
  • Add compost/organic fertilizer to roses
  • Fertilize needle evergreens with  organic acid type fertilizer
  • Compost/fertilize bulbs as they finish blooming
  • Compost/fertilize annuals and container plants

17 thoughts on “Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In May

  1. Thanks for the list! Now I don’t have to write one myself–all the more time saved for actually being in the garden.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I feel exhausted – hehe!

  3. bigsmileu1 says:

    Now I just need to findthe time to begin. 🙂

  4. Your list is really a good idea. It gives others something to follow. I love the name of your blog. I love bees in the garden and plant much to attract them in my garden too.

  5. Your list reminds me of chores I’ve conveniently ‘forgot’ i.e., weeding and mulching my walkways. Not my fav tasks.

  6. Who knew that a never ending list of chores could result in such joy….

  7. katiepede says:

    What a big list! 😀 Good luck with it all 🙂 x

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